Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman is the Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology. He is also Director of the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology program (MAPP). He was President of the American Psychological Association in 1998, during which one of his presidential initiatives was the promotion of Positive Psychology as a field of scientific study. He is a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism. He is also a recognized authority on interventions that prevent depression, and build strengths and well-being. He has written more than 300 scholarly publications and 25 books.
Dr. Seligman's books have been translated into more than 45 languages and have been best sellers both in America and abroad. Among his better-known works are Flourish (Free Press, 2011), Authentic Happiness (Free Press, 2002), Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991), What You Can Change & What You Can't (Knopf, 1993), The Optimistic Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1995), Helplessness (Freeman, 1975, 1993) and Abnormal Psychology (Norton, 1982, 1988, 1995, with David Rosenhan). His book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, was co-authored with Christopher Peterson (Oxford, 2004). His work has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the Reader's Digest, Redbook, Parents, Fortune, Family Circle, USA Today and many other popular magazines. He has been a spokesman for the science and practice of psychology on numerous television and radio shows. He has written columns on such far-flung topics as education, violence, happiness, and therapy. He has lectured around the world to educators, industry, parents, and mental health professionals.
Dr. Seligman is the recipient of various awards, including the American Psychological Association (APA) Award for Lifetime Contributions to Psychology (2017), the Tang Award for Lifetime Achievement in Psychology (2014), the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution (2006), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for Research in Psychopathology (1997), and the Distinguished Contribution Award for Basic Research with Applied Relevance from the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology (1992). He also received two awards from the American Psychological Society - the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for Applications of Psychological Knowledge (1995) and the William James Fellow Award for Contributions to Basic Science (1991).
Dr. Seligman's research and writing has been broadly supported by a number of institutions including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Aging, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. His research on preventing depression received the MERIT Award of the National Institute of Mental Health in 1991.
For 14 years, Dr. Seligman was the Director of the Clinical Training Program of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Psychology. He was named a "Distinguished Practitioner" by the National Academies of Practice, and in 1995 received the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's award for “Distinguished Contributions to Science and Practice." He is a past-president of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association.
In 1996, Dr. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association, by the largest vote in modern history. His primary aim as APA President was to join practice and science together so both might flourish - a goal that has dominated his own life as a psychologist. His major initiatives concerned the prevention of ethnopolitical warfare and the study of Positive Psychology. Since 2000 his main mission has been the promotion of the field of Positive Psychology.
He received his A.B. from Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude (Philosophy), 1964; Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (Psychology), 1967; Ph.D., Honoris causa, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1989; Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris causa, Massachusetts College of Professional Psychology, 1997; Ph.D., Honoris causa, Complutense University, Spain, 2003; and Ph.D., Honoris causa, University of East London, 2006.